Longtime math instructor counts herself lucky to be at Laurel Ridge

Tammy Racer

Page County native Tammy Racer is in her 30th year of public school teaching. She has spent more than half those years also working as an adjunct math instructor at Laurel Ridge.

The Luray High School graduate began teaching developmental math even before the Luray-Page County Center opened.

When she walked into a career fair at Luray High School in 2002, Laurel Ridge’s then-president, Dr. John “Ski” Sygielski was there to enroll students in the college. Racer was asked if she wanted to sign up for a class.

“I said, ‘I would really love to teach one for you,’” she recalls. “Dr. Ski is the one who was there, and he’s the one who got me started with Laurel Ridge.”

That’s when Racer started teaching developmental math classes to adult education students at the former Luray High School.

Racer earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from James Madison University, with a certification in math. She has 44 credit hours above a master’s degree.

She has taught math in several different school systems over the years, but will be leaving Rappahannock County Public Schools for Prince William County Public Schools this fall. She will continue to teach evening math classes at the LPCC, though.

Racer plans to retire in several years, and hopes to then start teaching daytime classes at the new Luray-Page County Center being built.

“I love the diversity at Laurel Ridge,” Racer says. “You never know who will be walking in our doors. They want to be here, and they want to learn. Most of them are scared to death of math, and by the time I’m done, they’re comfortable. It’s so much fun to see them transform like that.”

Racer has two sons. Her younger son, Trent, is enrolled in Laurel Ridge’s truck-driving program.

A skilled quilter, Racer has made several quilts for the college. She donated one to the Evening with the Stars fundraiser in Page County, and gave another made out of Lord Fairfax T-shirts to former President Cheryl Thompson-Stacy when she retired.

“That was fun because the whole campus was sneaking shirts, sending them to me in the mail,” Racer says.